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Selection: A Source of Competitive Advantage

The role of selection in organization effectiveness is crucial for two primary reasons. First since the work performance depends on individuals. Second, since the cost incurred in recruiting and hiring personnel speaks volumes about the role of selection. Selection is a lengthy process commencing from the preliminary interview of the applicants and ending with the contract of employment. However this process differs among organizations and between two different jobs within the same company. Selection procedure for senior managers will be long drawn and rigorous, but it is simple and short while hiring shop-floor workers.

Job seekers who pass the screening and the preliminary interview are called for tests. Different types of tests may be administered, depending on the job and the company. Generally, tests are used to determine the applicant’s ability, aptitude and personality.
  • Ability tests are also called achievement tests which assist in determining how well an individual can perform tasks related to the job like, the data entry test given to prospective employee for a secretarial job. These are also called proficiency tests that measure the extent to which a person has acquired or achieved certain information or proficiency as a function of instruction or training. Achievement tests can be both present and past oriented. Its primary purpose is to evaluate what a person has learned. Achievement tests are mostly edumetric tests, whose major intention is to measure the gain or growth of individuals, such as the measurement of skill, proficiency and achievement.
  • An aptitude test helps in the determination of a person's potential to learn in a given area. Like for example, the General Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is quite essential for the business students to gain admission to a graduate business school program. English aptitude test involving verbal ability questions and one word substitution questions is a must for the applicants aspiring for post of journalism mass communication and many more. This test generally involves the ability and the understanding of an individual to utilize effectively his knowledge and concepts of English grammar and vocabulary.
  • Personality tests also forms a part of the selection tests where it measures the prospective employee’s motivation to function in a particular working environment. Like for example the famous Bernsenter Personality Inventory measures a person's self-sufficiency, neurotic tendency, sociability, introversion and extraversion, locus of control and self-confidence. Still other personality tests like the Guilford Zimmerman Temperament Survey, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), not only are designed to assess the specific personality traits, but also measures an individual’s achievement and motivational levels.
  • Interest tests are used to measure an individual’s activity preferences. These tests are particularly useful for students considering many careers or employees deciding upon career changes.
  • Graphology test is the test that seeks to predict success or failure through one's hand writing. This test is designed to analyse the handwriting of an individual based on the concept that, an individual’s handwriting can suggest the degree of energy, inhibitions and spontaneity as well disclose the idiosyncrasies and the elements of balance and control. Employers usually consult graphologists to supplement their usual personnel recruitment procedures in India.
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